Introduction to Personality
Introduction to Personality
The purpose of this paper is to examine the personality theory by defining personality, examining theoretical approaches in studying personality, and analyzing factors that may influence an individual’s personality development - Introduction to Personality introduction. In defining personality psychologists direct not just to the role people play, but on diversified definitions. The theoretical approach use to study personality consists of observation, consistency, and accuracy for the personality theory to generate research. In analyzing factors that may influence an individual’s personality development is the reflection of an author’s assumptions about humanity. Assumptions that provide several broad dimensions that differs different personality theorists (Feist & Feist, 2009). Personality
The first person to evolve the first modern theory of personality is Sigmund Freud followed by other men and women interested in the theories of personality (Feist & Feist, 2009). Thus, there are different terms that define the word “personality”. In fact, psychologists define personality not just to the role people play, but on diversified definitions. To understand the concept of personality theory one need to consider its background. Such as personality from an individual reference point, where theorists live and come from, trained as psychiatry or psychology, and experiences is psychotherapists or empirical research (Feist & Feist, 2009). Feist and Feist (2009) stated, “Although no single definition is acceptable to all personality theorists, we can say that personality is a pattern of relatively permanent traits and unique characteristics that give both consistency and individuality to a person’s behavior” (p. 4). Therefore, traits and characteristics in a person is what define personality. Traits because contributes with consistency of behavior over time and stability of behavior across situations. Characteristics because of the unique qualities a person has such as temperament, physique, and intelligence. Consequently, personality has the mission to provide an integrative framework for understanding the whole person and to focus on human individually (McAdams & Pals, 2006). Theoretical Approaches
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Accordingly, there are a number of different theories about how personality develops. Some of the theoretical approaches use to study personality consists of observation, consistency, and accuracy for the personality theory to generate research. Moreover, to understand the theoretical approach, first the definition of a theory is provided. “A scientific theory is a set of related assumptions that allows scientists to use logical deductive reasoning to formulate testable hypotheses” (Feist & Feist, 2009, p. 4). Therefore, there are different concepts that relate to the personality theory, such as philosophy, speculation, hypothesis, and taxonomy. Philosophy. Philosophers, people who pursue wisdom through thinking and reasoning without controlled studies in their pursuit of wisdom. One branch of philosophy is the nature of knowledge. The reason why it relates to personality theory is because it is a tool used by scientists in their pursuit of knowledge (Feist & Feist, 2009). Speculation. Speculation consists of the flow forth from the mind of a thinker isolated from empirical observations very similar in gathering data like science. Therefore, speculations and empirical observation are essential to theory building need by the personality theory to generate research. However, speculation does not provide controlled observation (Feist & Feist, 2009). Hypothesis.
Any theory consists of generating different hypotheses, which is a prediction validated to test through the scientific method. Through deductive reasoning scientists can derive testable hypotheses from a useful theory and test the hypotheses. Thus, using inductive reasoning scientists alters the theory to reflect results being able to reshape a theory (Feist & Feist, 2009). Taxonomy. Classification of things according to their natural relationships is taxonomy. Thus, taxonomies evolve into theories when they begin to generate testable hypotheses and explain research findings. Taxonomy is capable of suggesting hypotheses and offers explanations for research results (Feist & Feist, 2009). Moreover, the reason for so many theories consists of nature of a theory allowing the theorists to make speculations from a particular point of view. For instance Feist and Feist (2009), state, “All theories are a reflection of their author’s personal background, childhood, experiences, philosophy of life, interpersonal relationships, and unique manner of looking at the world” (p. 7). In other words personality theories grow from theorists’ own personalities, thus personality influence the development of theories. Analyzing Factors
Moreover, in analyzing factors that may influence an individual’s personality development is the reflection of an author’s assumptions about humanity. Assumptions that provide several broad dimensions that differs different personality theorists (Feist & Feist, 2009). Those dimensions consists of determinism vs. free choice, pessimism vs. optimism, causality vs. teleology, conscious vs. unconscious, biological vs. social influences on personality, and uniqueness vs. similarities. According to Feist and Feist (2009), “Each personality theory reflects the individual personality of its creator, and each creator has a unique philosophical orientation, shaped in part by early childhood experiences, birth order, gender, training, education, and pattern of interpersonal relationships” (p. 12). In other words, psychologists have developed assessment techniques, including personality inventories, measuring different dimensions of personality to be reliable and valid at the same time. McAdams and Pals (2006) have created the five big principles of an integrated science of the whole person. Personality consist of (a) an individual’s unique variation on the general evolutionary design for human nature, expressed as a developing pattern, (b) dispositional traits, (c) characteristics adaptations, (d) self-defining life narratives, complexly, and differentially situated, and (e) in culture and social context. McAdams and Pals (2006) stated, “The 5 principles suggest a framework for integrating the Big Five model of personality traits with those self-defining features of psychological individuality constructed in response to situated social tasks and the human need to make meaning in culture” (p. 204). Conclusion
The purpose of this paper was to understand personality and personality theory, the different theoretical approaches in studying personality, and analyzing what influences and individual’s personality development. Through the personality theory essay one can understand how personality is described through diversified definitions by psychologists. As well how traits and characteristics are what define personality. In the same way, one can also understand how the theoretical approaches consist of, such as the assumptions scientists’ use to use logical deductive reasoning to formulate hypotheses. As well, described the relationship between different concepts, such as philosophy, speculations, hypothesis, and taxonomy. Finally, one can analyze the factors that influence an individual’s personality development through an author’s assumptions about humanity. Factors, such as determinism vs. free choice, pessimism vs. optimism, causality vs. teleology, conscious vs. unconscious determinants, biological vs. social factors, and uniqueness vs. similarities in people. All the mentioned above is what makes part of the personality theory.
Feist, J., & Feist, G. J. (2009). Theories of Personality (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill. McAdams, D., & Pals, J. (2006). A new Big Five: fundamental principles for an integrative science of personality. The American Psychologist, 61(3), 204-217. doi:10.1037/0003-066x.61.3.204